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Memories: Do You Remember When…?

woman contemplatingYou’ve lived long enough to experience many changes, both good and bad.  You have seen the world through the eyes of a child and now as a mature adult.  Things are undoubtedly very different from when you were young.  But thankfully, you have the memories. Your memories are closely enmeshed with emotions of love, grief or joy.  Memories affect your reasoning and decision-making, and because of your past, your present actions and experiences are affected.  Your concept of yourself, your choices, attitudes and behaviors are driven in part by what you remember and how you interpret those memories.

So when I remember the metal skates that fit over my sneakers and the skate key used to tighten them, I am conjuring up a positive, pleasant memory that brings a smile to my face. Never mind all the falls and scraped knees. I had fun with my friends playing in the neighborhood. But, when I think of the time I was lost at the beach at 5 yrs. old, I am reliving the scary, traumatic feelings that cause me to shudder every time I’m in an unfamiliar area.  Both memories had a significant impact on my life, as I either feel comfortable or uncomfortable with those thoughts or images that come to mind.

You are always creating new memories and will continue to do so until you die. Some memories will be short term, as you will forget them soon after they happen. Whatever has meaning to you or is similar to other memories will be stored as long-term memory.  So, certain areas you are extremely familiar with will have a greater depth of recall for you.

As you age, you tend to distort your memories in a more positive direction, making the emotional information less negative.  Have you ever noticed how many widowed women will rave about their 40-year marriages, even though you have seen and know the facts differently?

It doesn’t really matter, though, because your memories are your memories.  Keep the goods ones in the forefront, clear, bold and strong and the bad ones weak, blurry and as far from the surface as you can.

Tennessee Williams once said, “Life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going.” Therefore, live each day to the fullest so that when you look back you can rejoice remembering the joy, beauty, splendor and fun that you had over your lifetime.

 

 

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